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Branch closing may be unavoidable,
new Quincy library trustee says

Posted by Molly Connors  May 21, 2010 09:09 AM

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Libraries are dear to one of Quincy’s newest library trustees, Mary L. Reed, but
the impacts of recent budget cuts are what’s really on her mind.

Thumbnail image for QL-reed.jpg“We understand that there really is no money,” Reed said in a recent interview. “The mayor [Thomas Koch] has done the best he can."

But the 9 percent cut the library is slated to take in fiscal 2011 is not good enough for some library advocates. With the budget cut about $232,000 from this fiscal year, the library will lose four of its approximately 45 staff members and see its three branches closed on Fridays, officials said.

All libraries will be closed on weekends this summer (though the main library will be open on weekends in the fall), many children’s story hours will be moved to the main branch, and waits for the library’s computers could reach an hour, said Ann McLaughlin, director of the Thomas Crane Public Library.

Reed, who grew up in Boston’s South End and Roxbury neighborhoods, is the president and CEO of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children, a non-profit organization for children and families, and is a member of the Board of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

She said that the cuts to the library come at a terrible time for all cities and towns, but will be particularly hard on some families. “It’s a shame to see the cuts happening now when families, particularly low-income families ... don’t have computers at home,” Reed said.

Although keeping the three library’s three branches -- Wollaston, North Quincy, and Adams Shore -- is one of her priorities, Reed said, closing a branch may be inevitable if the library’s budget is cut any further.

“I am not sure we can keep closings at bay if indeed they have to take another cut,” said Reed. “It would be drastic and devastating.''

Reed joins five others appointed by the mayor for a 1-year term on the Library Board. Sandra McCauley, Harold Crowley, Lawrence J. Falvey, Jr., and Janet DiTullio were reappointed to the board.

Lola Tom, a Quincy resident since 1985, is also new to the Board. Tom is manager of Asian services, community outreach and development, at Quincy Medical Center and is a member of the Quincy Lions Club, according to library officials.

Tom echoes Reed's concerns about the challenges facing the library.

"These are tough decisions as we face the budget constraints," Tom said in a recent interview.

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